Kalani Sitake Media Availability - No. 19 Arizona State


PROVO, Utah – The following quotes are selected from BYU's Monday media availability prior to the week three game vs. No. 19 Arizona State at LaVell Edwards Stadium.

Watch the full press conference here. 

Head Coach Kalani SitakeFull Interview
We are looking forward to Arizona State, another ranked team coming into Provo, a really well-coached team with a lot of athleticism and speed. So it’s a difficult matchup but we’re looking forward to it.

On the Big 12 announcement
I’m not thinking about the next two years, I’m just thinking about this week. We’re working as a staff to develop talent and develop some depth, and that’s going to be our focus.

I am really happy we get to do it as an athletic department. We have great coaches and student-athletes at this university and really excited that we get to do this together. Really grateful that we have this partnership with the Big 12 and that we’re joined by a great number of schools.

On preparing for ASU after Utah
I liked that our guys were focused on what was going on there, so razor-sharp focused that the Utah game was more important than the Big 12 announcement, and that was evident from what we saw as a coaching staff. Let’s just do the exact same thing again. Let’s have that same type of mindset, that same type of focus, and the same type of intensity that we had coming into practice and into our meetings.

On Jaren Hall
In regards to numbers, he’s doing great with the numbers that matter the most, and that’s what we’re focusing on. It’s really good to see the way our players have each other’s backs and I’m just really happy with the way he is performing. A lot of that has to do with the preparation that he takes on during the week.

On Keenan Ellis and Isaiah Herron:
Keenan is not out for the season, but still highly doubtful for this weekend. He’s doing really well, by the way, he’s still going through protocol and we’re taking out time to bring him back, but he’s doing much better and he improves daily. Isiah Herron, I've been really pleased with him, just really pleased with the progress he's made, and I’m glad that this is where he wants to be and you’re seeing the results. He’s a big-time player and I am really looking forward to seeing him play this weekend.

Offensive Lineman James Empey | Full Interview
On watch film from Utah game
It was a blast checking out that film, there’s a lot we can improve on, there always will be, but I’m proud of the way the guys played and how we were able to get it done when it mattered most.”

On the team's ability during important drives
I think everybody on the offense and defense made plays when we needed them most and were able to buckle down and make it happen in crunch time.

I’m so proud of the way the guys all were able to step up, how hard the running backs were running, the decisions Jaren was making, and the plays the receivers were making, I’m just really proud of how it all came out. I think it was a huge step for us on offense.

On playing Pac-12 teams:
Arizona is a good team, Utah is a good team. Being able to play that caliber team early is great for us, we get a ton of learning and great competition.

We’re excited for the challenge, ASU, they’ve got a lot of talent. They play really hard and they’re a physical team. We’re excited to just step up to the plate for the next challenge and hopefully keep this thing rolling.

On refocusing for ASU
Saturday was so much fun, but winning that game isn’t our end goal, you know, we have 10 more games to battle, especially one this weekend.

The guys are already turning their focus towards ASU and looking forward to that game. They’ve been good on film and are going to be a great challenge. We’re excited to get rolling this week.

Defensive Lineman Lorenzo Fauatea | Full Interview
On Tom Holmoe
He really cares about the players and really puts us first. He participates in all the sporting events. He sets the tone for everyone here in the athletic dept. 

About BYU not practicing on Sunday
I think it’s a positive. The coaches always talk about a life of balance. We need to be with our families on Sunday. Whether we win or lose, we need to spend time with our families. Sundays we go to church and worship our Heavenly Father. We do come in on Sundays to help heal the bumps and bruises so we are ready to go the following week. 

On what the upperclassmen do to help your teammates have a razor-focused mindset
We emphasize that we are taking it one week at a time, one game at a time. As long as we do our small and simple things as a team and individually, we should be able to keep focused. We echo off of what Kalani says. What Kalani says, we follow. 

On after going after the opposing team's quarterback
All praises to Coach Tuiaki. He is a guy who does his job. He listens to the players and we listen to him. We executed the game plan and trusted it. We never questioned once what Tuiaki called. We made sure to pressure the QB. We have been trusting in each other.

Running Back Lopini Katoa | Full Interview
On how his mom is during
She was happy. Hurting in her hospital bed, but she’s recovering well from the surgery. She was able to watch the game in her room. It helped me stay motivated and play with more passion.

It’s been tough, but manageable. But I was able to spend all day with her on Sunday and stay in the hospital with her.  

On what the fundraiser for your mom meant to you
It was cool. It was a little weird for me. I’m not the type of person who usually talks about personal things like that. But, my sister wanted to do the event and it meant a lot to see my teammates giving their own money to help with her hospital bills. 

On why he didn't wear gloves in the game
Honestly, it just depends on how I’m feeling. I didn’t practice with gloves the week against Arizona, so I didn’t play with them. Everybody was freaking out, but it’s not a make-it-or-break-it thing for me. 

On being razor-focused heading into the Utah game and keeping that same focus against ASU
One of the biggest things that drove us last week was that we didnt’ play our best football against Arizona. We weren’t satisfied with how we played. We still haven’t played our best football. So, we are competing against ourselves.